234 Ford House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-6460
Hon. Christopher H. Smith, Chairman
Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Co-Chairman
Media Contact: Neil Simon
October 14, 2009


WASHINGTON - Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and Co-Chairman Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), announced today they will hold a hearing:

“Promoting Tolerance and Understanding in the OSCE Region: The Role of the Personal Representatives”

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

10:00 a.m.

Room: SVC 208/209 (Capitol Visitor Center)

Following an escalation in acts of discrimination and intolerance earlier this decade, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe intensified efforts to promote acceptance and understanding throughout Eurasia and North America. Since 2004, these three personal representatives appointed by the OSCE Chair-in-Office (Greece in 2009) have worked to address intolerance and discrimination within their respective mandates – combating discrimination against Jews, Muslims, Christians and others. In their first joint visit to the U.S., the representatives will speak to the progress they’ve seen and the challenges that remain to create a more tolerant OSCE region.

Witnesses include:
• Rabbi Andrew Baker (USA), Personal Representative on Combating Anti-Semitism
• Ambassador Adil Akhmetov (Kazakhstan), Personal Representative on Combating Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims
• The Honorable Mario Mauro (Italy), Personal Representative on Combating Racism, Xenophobia and Discrimination (also focusing on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians and Members of Other Religions)

The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, is an independent agency of the Federal Government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Accords and advancing comprehensive security through promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental and military cooperation in 56 countries. The Commission consists of nine members from the U.S. Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce.


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Chairman Chris Smith and the OSCE ODIHR Director Michael Georg Link shake hands at the Winter Meeting of the OSCE PA in Vienna, Austria. (Feb. 2015)